Free Markets, Free People

Bruce McQuain

I’ve been sort of following Ferguson

But not that much.

Why?

Because it is a re-run.  In fact, it’s a re-run of a re-run.  A re-make if you prefer.  The same-old, same-old.

It is so predictable that you could set up a timeline and be pretty sure that you’d be 90% right.

It begins like this:

Incident occurs.  In this case, black teenager, white cop (template says black/white with black the victim).  Tensions build.  Protests erupt and violence ensues.

Then the real problem occurs.

Before everything can be sorted out and calmed down, the media shows up.

Of course, as soon as the media grows enough to include national outlets, the professional race baiters are soon to follow.  Right on their heels the other opportunists arrive – the anarchists, communists, community activists, agitators and looters.  And soon the circus is in full swing.

Rumor is published as fact.  Hate rages from both sides.  Social media is inundated with trash talk, nonsense and stupidity aided and abetted by an agenda driven media. Death threats, threats of violence, racial hate and other garbage flows like a river.  Anchors from the national outlets put on their safari jackets (or now I guess it’s their protective vests and helmets) and get cameo shots near the protests to certify their “bona fides” as brave news men and women.  Irresponsibility and immaturity on all sides rules the day.

And the flames get fanned even higher.

Former CNN anchor and Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” host Howie Kurtz criticized some outlets for creating “almost a lynch mob mentality” in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“Some liberal outlets [are] creating almost a lynch mob mentality around this, the Huffington Post today, screaming banner headline ‘Arrest Him.’ Now, the Huffington Post, nor you or I, knows exactly what happened” he said. And “when you cross that line into becoming an advocate and to demanding that somebody be prosecuted before the facts are in, while the investigation is going on, you’re grandstanding, you’re trying to keep the story alive and I really think it’s troubling.”

Kurtz also criticized CNN for showing the house of accused officer Darren Wilson, stating, “It defies my understanding how you could put his life or the life of his family in danger by even briefly showing the house or naming the street.”

When it all finally sorts itself out, we’ll likely find that the problem wasn’t necessarily about race, didn’t conform to any of the preconceived notions presented by the press (like, you know, “George Zimmerman” wasn’t white) and wasn’t any of the nonsense the “experts” opined endlessly about.

It was an unfortunate incident that needs to be addressed, but hasn’t had the chance to be addressed.  And now the DoJ has decided the Civil Rights division needs to be involved along with 40 or so FBI agents.  And the governor has sent in the National Guard.

Is there an injustice here?  Possibly, but I don’t know yet.  I’d go as far as to say probably, but again, I don’t know. I do know that it points to a growing trend of over-policing that I attribute to a seeming change in philosophy among police departments. Police, in many cases, seem to escalate a situation instead of defusing it. That needs to be reversed, in my opinion.  But I certainly don’t know if this officer would have acted any differently if the teenager had been white.  Nor do I yet know whether his actions were warranted or not (which is why we impanel juries and have evidence presented in cases like this).  And neither does anyone else.

But in the street theater all of this has become, that’s likely to be lost in the shuffle.

In other words, this is the Trayvon Martin template redux with nightly violence added for variety.

Formulaic, predictable and disgusting. But that’s how we do it in America today.

~McQ

The left’s “new” idea

I don’t think anyone would attempt to persuade us that “feminism” is a product of the right.  In fact, most feminists would argue that feminism is necessary because of the right … and men, of course.  Feminism began on the left as a fairly benignly defined movement: “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

Of course, that didn’t last long and feminism evolved and began characterizing women as victims – victims of men, the “system”, the “patriarchy, etc. because, well, men controlled everything (the fact that technology had advanced to a point that women were more able to participate in a vast number of more areas of life than previously, and that as such, the culture needed to go through a natural evolutionary cycle to adapt to that apparently never occurred to them) and that was bad.  And as it built up the cult of victimhood and focused on men – well, except for Bill Clinton or any other useful man on the left – it became more militant and radical.  Men went from being partners to necessary evils to just plain evil.  Stereotypes of the “typical male” became etched in the concrete of their dogma as “the truth”.  “All sex is rape” and “a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” became popular catch phrases that were representative of their developing creed as the movement morphed from one to gain equal rights to one that essentially declared war on men.  It wasn’t about equality anymore, it was about rejection of men and everything they stood for.  Men, to radical feminists, were the problem … and although never said, it was clear most of the radical feminists would be quite happy if men were essentially eliminated.

Well rejoice radfems, one of your ilk has spoken what you have dared not say outloud.  The reason you’ve not said it becomes clear when you realize the natural end state of radical feminism and how it has to be achieved, at least according to this fembot.  She outlines the “utopian” vision of the radical feminist movement – and trust me there’s nothing about equality involved.  Instead it is filled with ignorance – one which imagines the “state” as the ultimate tool necessary for radfems to change the world into what this silly woman imagines would be a utopia.  What is interesting to note is what would have to happen for this “utopia” to evolve.  Yes, I know it is extraordinarily far-fetched and absurd, but then we can point to many current and past ideologies – all pointed at their own brand of “utopia” – that somehow gained credence and backing to establish itself, much to the detriment of those who were identified as “enemies” of the ideology.

Anyway the point is this particular nonsense is a good example of how leftist ideologies usually imagine their ascendence.  It is through the state and their control of it.  The state is their tool, their ideology is the weapon and the individual – well individuals don’t exist for these ideologies.  They become nothing more than pawns to be used as necessary for the “good of society” and the collective as a whole.

What you’ll read will seem radical as hell, which is why it is so perfect for the point – you don’t have to explain subtlety here – there is none.  It is pure elitist power and abuse wrapped up in what this person hopes is a benign description that shows those who can read between the lines what extent and what horrors radicals on the left would set in motion to accomplish their “utopia”:

VICE: I assume The Ratio refers to your belief the male population should be reduced to between by 90 percent.

The Femitheist: I believe that conventional equality, with a 50/50 female-to-male ratio, is an inferior system. Essentially my ideas lead to men being made a special class—a far more valued class—having choice of a myriad of women due to the difference in sex ratio. That is my intention. Men would be made more valuable, and their quality of life would be dramatically improved. They would have a subsidised existence if you will, akin to going on an all-expenses paid vacation that lasts from birth to death.

Assuming people are down for that, how could you reduce the male population by that much? Are you talking culling or selective breeding over years?

Obviously men comprise a substantial portion of the victims of violent crime and participate heavily in war, so there will always be deaths there—but certainly not culling. I don’t advocate selective slaughter or brutal processes.

The first thing to notice in this word salad is she claims not to want to do anything via a selective slaughter or anything. How nice.  Stereotypical men will kill themselves off and aid in their extermination.  Also, note the characterization of those men who are left (if you’re confused, she wants only 1 to 10% men and 90 to 99% women as the “proper ratio) as “more valuable” and that the “quality of life” would improve.

Yup, and they said the Jews were going to work camps where they’d be properly looked after in 1939, didn’t they? “Arbeit macht frei”!   This is all about the “selling” of the idea and easing the victims of the ideology into the cattle cars without a disturbance.

She says the way to ensure the ratio is reached and maintained is through genetic manipulation and abortion.  Any guess as to what would manage and mandate that process?

Another role for the state?

It’ll require the re-teaching of everyone—female and male—in classrooms, homes, through literature, media, art, and networks. It is a process that would take decades, generations, and perhaps even a few centuries. Nevertheless, these are things that should be done to forge a new and vastly superior world.

Vastly superior because, well you know, the self-appointed elite certainly have been successful creating “vastly superior” societies in the past, haven’t they?

Would men be kept in isolation like stud horses?

I believe we must remove men from the community and place them in their own specific sections of society, akin to subsidised or state-funded reservations, so they can be redefined. We can make not only men safer, but women as well. By subsidising said reservations through the state we can provide men with activities, healthcare, entertainment, shelter, protection, and everything that one could ever require in life. This will remove conventional inequality from society. By reducing the number of men to 10 percent of the total population, their socio-biovalue will be raised. They will live out their lives happily and safely, and male disposability will be a thing of the past.

She knows this is true because, well, because it is obvious she knows so much about men … not.  Stereotypically all men want is “sex, beer and a TV”.  Man has never striven for anything else and would obviously be content to be penned up and have their needs serviced.  History is bereft of examples of men striving for or wanting anything more.   No mention, of course, of what the “state” would do to those men who chafe at these restrictions and want more out of life.  Of course since they are reduced to a life of nothing more that of a stud horse, it is obvious that their place in any human society is substantially below that of the women in that society.  I.e. they’re the “harem” for the women who run the world.

Are you ready for the dismissal of the individual and the one-size-fits-all solution so common to these leftist dream-worlds?

What about the ambitions of the individual? Some men may aspire to more than luxury breeding pens.

Some would argue it would be a dystopian world because it wouldn’t be free in the present conventional sense. However that is misguided. It will be utopian because it will be a world almost without conflict where people cooperate and are treated properly within a well-engineered and long-forged system. If everything is great for almost everyone the point is null. Survival and socio-organic wellbeing are the most important elements in life. Diversity of principles and standards is only necessary in a world of multiple nations, cultures, societies, and religions due to fear of oppression. So, how is this world any better? Because some people have potential opportunities to do certain things?

That’s kind of depressing.

The purpose of living is merely to persist and perpetuate our species. If someone is willing to give you all you require to survive and live comfortably, simply because you exist, then you have already achieved all that truly matters.

Kind of depressing?  It is staggeringly stupid not to mention incredibly oppressive.  And how about the redefinition of the “purpose of living”?  That’s all?  That’s all there is?  Well, except for the elite (among which she would likely place herself).  That’s not the sole purpose of their being – they live to control you and achieve “utopia” … their utopia.  You drones just need to fall in line and procreate.

And what about the “family” in this matriarchal wonder world:

Doesn’t all this dismiss the notion of companionship and the family unit?

Heterosexual companionship and the nuclear family model, yes.

What do you propose as alternatives?

Children should be raised communally and by the state. The nuclear family model is a breeding ground of deceptions, mediocrities, treacheries, hypocrisy, and violence. It needs to be abolished. Bigotry, prejudice, and antiquated convictions are passed down through each generation. The conventional family unit indoctrinates our youth and drains them of their potential. My solution would be to assign children caretakers whose task would simply be to provide shelter, food, clothing, and protection for each child—all of which would be yielded by the state. Perfect girls will be conceived, developed, and engineered in state-owned breeding centers. They will be bound together in a communal venue under the instruction and control of female savants.

It takes a village, baby.  A female village.  No males allowed – well except those allowed to be born to repopulate the stud farm and they’ll be completely indoctrinated by the time they reach puberty.  Perfect girls in state-owned breeding centers … what more could you ask for?

Now you’re probably saying that this is so far fetched that it would never stand a chance of ever being established or condoned.  Why even waste time on it?

Well, I’d simply point you toward Nazism of the past century and say, “BS”.  It is the same plan with a twist.  Nazis also wanted a perfect society (they just wanted “Aryans”, not just women), they too believed everyone belonged to the state, they also pushed selective “breeding” (rewarding Aryan couples for having children and euthanizing the retarded and deformed), and through their Hitler Youth program, the state took on the total indoctrination of the youth for it’s own purposes (rat on your folks, get a reward).  They even had a program to weed out the undesirable from society.  In this woman’s case, it is men.  Then it was Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, slavs and political enemies.  So yeah, this is a rehash of the Nazi “utopia” with a twist. Instead of the “final solution” we get the “90% solution”.

 No one said the left was original.  And for the most part, it may be horrifically ignorant of history.  But it is persistent.  And that is the danger of people like this.  You never know when the events of history will converge as they did in Germany so many decades ago, to make an ideology seem “fresh” and “good” again.

~McQ

Dither and delay, while ISIS grows stronger and becomes a larger threat

You know you’ve lost respect in the world when the French Foreign Minister calls you out and tells you to do your job:

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has a message about Iraq for Barack Obama: Get back to the White House and do something.

‘I know it is the holiday period in our Western countries,’ Fabius told a radio interviewer Tuesday in France,’ but when people are dying, you must come back from vacation.’

This is just another in a series of disrespectful utterings from foreign leaders about our current resident of the White House.  And yes, it’s about leadership, something our current president does his best to avoid.

Meanwhile, in Iraq:

Senior U.S. officials describe the threat posed by the Islamic State in chilling terms, but they have mounted a decidedly modest military campaign to check its advance through northern Iraq.

The radical Islamist organization has attracted more fighterscontrols more territory and has access to a larger stream of money than al-Qaeda did before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to U.S. officials and terrorism experts. Its refusal to rein in its brand of rampant violence accounts in part for its break from the better-known terrorist group.

“This is serious business,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry told reporters earlier this week. “I think the world is beginning to come to grips with the degree to which this is unacceptable.”

I think much of the world came to grips with it on 9/11.  It is primarily our current leadership that has yet to come to grips with it, attempting to play down the seriousness of the situation by characterizing ISIS as the “jay vee” squad of terrorists.  Of course, that’s just ignorant rubbish.

So far, though, the Obama administration’s response to the group’s blitzkrieg through northern Iraq has been defined primarily by the limits it has placed on the U.S. military’s intervention.

The disconnect between the unnerving assessments of the Islamic State and the apparent lack of urgency in confronting it reflects a mix of political and military constraints. Among them are no clear military strategy for reversing the group’s recent territorial gains, a war-weariness that pervades the Obama administration and the country, and significant uncertainty about the extent to which the Islamic State is prepared to morph from a regional force into a transnational terrorist threat that could target Europe and the United States.

This goes back to my previous post about the West’s unwillingness (and certainly this administration is clearly unwilling) to do what is necessary to confront and defeat radical Islam.  In the case of a growing and violent ISIS, this is the time and place you do that.  It is a “nip it in the bud” moment.

Instead we have President Dither talking about what he won’t do.  And what he has done, a couple of airstrikes, is about as impressive and daunting to ISIS as taking a BB gun to a charging grizzly.

But the ongoing U.S. airstrikes are equally notable for what they have not tried to do. U.S. military officials have emphasized that the strikes are not designed to reverse the gains Sunni extremist fighters have made.

“We’ve had a very temporary effect,” Lt. Gen. William Mayville, a senior Army officer on the Joint Staff, told reporters this week.

It’s called “weakness”, boys and girls.  And in the anarchy of the international arena that sort of weakness creates opportunities for other power brokers.  In this case, ISIS continues to thumb its nose at all, brutally butcher all those who it finds that live outsides its narrow, radical creed and cares not a whit what the West thinks, since it is pretty darn sure it won’t do anything about it.

In fact, Obama’s “plan” is a lot like his plan for the SOFA agreement that failed.  Offer help only if certain political conditions are met that are, frankly, not going to happen – at least not in the near future (the CIA says it would take “years”):

President Obama, who campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has repeatedly said that a U.S. presence of that size in Iraq isn’t under consideration. “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, because there’s no American military solution to the larger crisis in Iraq,” he said.

With that in mind, the Obama administration has held off on more aggressive intervention plans, pledging in recent days to expand U.S. military involvement if the Baghdad government can show progress on including Sunnis and Kurds.

So he’s effectively put himself in a position to blame his inaction on the Iraqis, just as he did with the SOFA agreement.

Meanwhile the sycophants here claim that Obama is acting with restraint and wisely.  In fact, he’s in his usual mode of indecision and dithering.  He stands around with his thumb up his posterior while his buffoon of a Secretary of State states the obvious – this is “unacceptable”.  But apparently not unacceptable enough to actually do something about it.

But, as we’ve all learned, in Obama’s world, words equal action, so calling it “unacceptable” is about as good as it gets.

“Time is of the essence,” said Adm. James Stavridis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO and now dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The longer the airstrikes drag on, the more time Islamic State fighters will have to learn how to survive them. “Without a fast and serious response, including Special Operations forces on the ground, the chances of reversing IS gains or even breaking their evident momentum is very low,” he said.

And if we don’t do it now, we’ll have to do it later – guaranteed.  Of course that will be when they’re stronger, better armed, control more territory and have even more revenue and fighters than they do now.

Sometimes you’re stuck doing things you really don’t want to do but know innately that if you don’t act, that which you don’t address will only get far worse.   This is one of those situations.

We should act – decisively – but we won’t.  And the problem will only get worse.

I guess the next president can take solace in the fact that when faced with an even larger threat from ISIS, he can blame Obama.

~McQ

 

Delusional

How else to describe this president when he makes remarks like this:

President Barack Obama claimed Monday night during a Democratic Party fundraising dinner that the United States is ‘stronger’ than it was when he assumed office in January 2009.

His statement, though, appears to be at odds with key economic indicators, America’s sliding reputation abroad, and the American public’s estimation of the direction the country has taken under the Obama administration.

‘In all sorts of ways,’ Obama told Democratic partisans who paid between $15,000 to $32,400 to hear him speak, ‘we are not just stronger than when we – where we were when I first came into office.’

‘It’s fair to say that America has the best cards when you look at other countries around the world.  There’s no other country you’d rather be than the United States.’

‘Nobody can compete with us when we’re making the right decisions,’ he said.

The unspoken implication here is since we’re “stronger”, he’s made all the “right decisions”.  Of  course that absurd implication can be confronted factually at all sorts of levels.

Take the economy:

Grove City College economics professor Tracy Miller wrote Monday in an op-ed for The Daily Caller that ‘[o]ver the first five years of Obama’s presidency, the U.S. economy grew more slowly than during any five-year period since just after the end of World War II, averaging less than 1.3 percent per year.’

Unemployment:

The percentage of working-age Americans who are part of the U.S. workforce has reached the lowest level since 1978, with one out of every three staying on the sidelines and not working.

Debt:

And the federal government’s debts have ballooned by $7 trillion since Obama took office, a sum larger than the accumulated U.S. debts between 1776 and the end of the Clinton administration.

Consumer confidence is at -17.  That’s right, minus seventeen according to Gallup’s recent Economic Confidence Index.

Great success.

You don’t even have to cite the debacle his lack of foreign policy has wrought (or his lack of leadership on the illegal immigration flood) to make the point that he’s either lying through his teeth or he’s delusional.  He seems be reading a script from spin doctors and seems to be nothing but a propaganda mouthpiece now. An empty suit.  The “face.”  He doesn’t seem to even care.  Most of the recent optics (vacation after vacation while the world is in crisis) are simply not what anyone who cared would do if in a leadership position.   But he seems to think he’s entitled and we peasants should just suck it up and cope.  “Imperial presidency” doesn’t even begin to describe this crew.

Credibility?  Not much:

By a 20-point margin, they believe the nation is weaker under Obama’s leadership, according to a Fox News poll released in June. Just 35 per cent told pollsters they agreed with what Obama said Monday night.

The “Monday night” refers to the bucket of slop above that he served up to those true believers paying 32K for dinner.

And that has led to this from a CNN poll:

The poll also indicates that the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low.

Frankly, you won’t find me lamenting this particularly, but it is an illustration as to how poorly this administration had done its job (Remember, one of Obama’s stated goals was to increase trust in government).  Gallup piles on with this:

Many more Americans now mention a non-economic issue — such as dissatisfaction with government, immigration, or ethical and moral decline — than an economic one as the top problem.

This presidency has been a disaster.  And it continues, without seeming end, to make all the wrong decisions almost without exception.  The fact that the public seems to finally be waking up to it tells me a lot about how this presidency and administration have benefitted from a press reluctant to lay it all out as it happened.  The problem the press faces now is it has become so bad that their credibility (such that it is) is at risk if they continue to ignore and/or attempt to explain away what has become obvious to almost everyone.  That and the “Bush is to blame” blanket excuse has expired for all but the sycophants (although Obama again tried to deploy it this week when denying responsibility for the problems in Iraq).

This has been an awful era for this country.  Almost everything this president promised has been found to be either nonsense, demonstrably false or a lie.  Instead of the “most transparent” administration in history, it has become the most opaque.  We see indications of criminal conduct by apparatchiks every day (really, 20 people under suspicion all had their emails destroyed?  Really?).  We see a “Justice” department that ignores the law and/or selectively enforces it depending on whether the group in question is a favored one or not (New Black Panthers and video of voter intimidation?  Nah.  Vote ID laws?  You bet.). We see executive department bureaucrats assuming powers and making rules that are beyond their scope (just about everything the EPA has done).  And, in fact, we see an administration that has mostly ignored the Constitution and the limits on power it imposes on the executive.

Now we’re engaged in redefining what “stronger” means.  Apparently, in Obama Newspeak, stronger is really “weaker and poorer”.  If that’s what he was striving to accomplish, then he can claim to have been remarkably successful in making us “stronger”.

~McQ

Why aren’t tampons free?

Seriously, that’s the question some whackadoo feminist columnist in the UK is asking (it makes you wonder if the paper that published it is a serious news source).

Her “reasoning?”

But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such.

She wouldn’t know true principle if it throat punched her. However, what is clear is when you allow yahoos to redefine “health care” and get government to take control of it, well then everything should be ‘free’.
Her authority?  Not to worry, feminists have declared a few things to be “true”, and that make this a no-argument, slam-dunk:

Sanitary products are vital for the health, well-being and full participation of women and girls across the globe. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch, for example, have both linked menstrual hygiene to human rights.

Well there you go. I’m not sure where the human right not to be coerced by government into subsidizing another’s wants went, but apparently that’s a real right that is to be forever ignored.

If it is “health care” then it is a “right”.  And if it is a “right” then it should be “free”.  And if it is “free”, someone else should pay for it  – or so the “reasoning” goes. /sarc

Of course the fact that any such product has to be produced at a cost, transported at a cost and distributed at a cost that someone has to pay is just lost on these sorts of folks.  It doesn’t register.

As far as they’re concerned tampons come from magic tampon trees and when they need them, well, they’re just there.  And because they’re just there, they should be free!  Don’t you get that, you neanderthal?

Frankly I like this answer from a commenter to the article

Why aren’t tampons free?

Why isn’t soap free or wet wipes or shampoo?

If your argument is that sanitation should be provided for all cheaply then fine [Ed. sorry, but it already is].

But it isn’t. Your argument is that its all a plot to make women pay for stuff they need. At the end of the day its not free because in the real world you have to pay for stuff. Your right to a hygienic lady area is no more compelling than mine to a clean backside or clean hands. You are once more guilty of making women victim’s of their vaginas.

The commenter is right – the unspoken part of this attempt to fleece others is supposed victimhood. Read the article – it reeks with it.

In reality this is just the inevitable  extension of the Sandra Fluke argument that all women are entitled to free contraception because it is a “right” or something.

Where I come from “rights” aren’t something others pay for with either time, labor, material or money.

But hey, if you can redefine “health care” you can certainly redefine “rights”, no?

~McQ

What ever happened to critical thinking

Dr. Thomas Sowell thinks he knows:

In an age when scientists are creating artificial intelligence, too many of our educational institutions seem to be creating artificial stupidity.

Critical thinking seems, in many cases, to be a thing of the past.  Ideology seems to be replacing it.

For instance:

Many people in Europe and the Western Hemisphere are staging angry protests against Israel’s military action in Gaza. One of the talking points against Israel is that far more Palestinian civilians have been killed by Israeli military attacks than the number of Israeli civilians killed by the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel that started this latest military conflict.

Are these protesters aware that vastly more German civilians were killed by American bombers attacking Nazi Germany during World War II than American civilians killed in the United States by Hitler’s forces?

Not only that, are they aware that the intent of the Hamas terrorists is to kill as many Israeli civilians as they can?  They’re just not very good at it.  And, Israel has taken steps to safeguard its civilians while Hamas repeatedly and purposely puts their civilians at risk by launching rockets from populated areas near schools etc.

This isn’t something that’s hard to figure out … unless you’ve turned thinking off and ideology (which only allows one to accept “facts” that fit the narrative”) on.

Another example involving Jerry Rivers:

Geraldo Rivera has denounced the Drudge Report for carrying news stories that show some of the negative consequences and dangers from allowing vast numbers of youngsters to enter the country illegally and be spread across the country by the Obama administration.

Some of these youngsters are already known to be carrying lice and suffering from disease. Since there have been no thorough medical examinations of most of them, we have no way of knowing whether they, or how many, are carrying deadly diseases that will spread to American children when these unexamined young immigrants enter schools across the country.

The attack against Matt Drudge has been in the classic tradition of demagogues. It turns questions of fact into questions of motive. Geraldo accuses Drudge of trying to start a “civil war.”

However, history reminds us:

Back when masses of immigrants from Europe were entering this country, those with dangerous diseases were turned back from Ellis Island. Nobody thought they had a legal or a moral “right” to be in America or that it was mean or racist not to want our children to catch their diseases.

Perfectly acceptable precautions.  Perfectly sound reasoning.  Something we understood well even back then.  But that doesn’t fit the ideological narrative today. The fact that the illegals are “children”  is what the ideologues want to emphasize in order to shut others up and have them enter freely and be placed within our system.  They appeal to emotion, not reason.  Reason tells you that you take prudent precautions instead of openly exposing your children to the communicable diseases, etc. that are being brought in by illegals, children or not.  Who do we have a greater responsibility toward and why should we risk their lives and health in order to satisfy an ideology?  A thinking person would conclude we have a greater responsibility to our own children.

Finally:

Although liberals are usually gung ho for increasing the minimum wage, there was a sympathetic front-page story in the July 29 San Francisco Chronicle about the plight of a local non-profit organization that will not be able to serve as many low-income minority youths if it has to pay a higher minimum wage. They are seeking some kind of exemption.

Does it not occur to these people that the very same thing happens when a minimum-wage increase applies to profit-based employers? They, too, tend to hire fewer inexperienced young people when there is a minimum-wage law.

No it doesn’t “occur” to them because they don’t think it through.  They simply parrot the emotional buzz-words and phrases their ideology teaches them.  The consequences are far less important than getting their way and feeling good about it.  But critical thought never enters the picture.

If it did, we’d not be hearing the nonsense these examples present, would we?

~McQ

Climate Change: About that big yellow thing that hangs in the sky each day …

If the findings of a new study are correct, it appears the sun is indeed the primary reason for global temps being higher for a few years.  I know, you’re shocked aren’t you?  Who would have thought the big heater in the sky could have a role in temperature increases?  Well not the alarmists.

As illustrated in the figure below, the authors report there is “remarkable agreement” among the overlapping years of their reconstruction (solid black line) and the number of sunspots recorded from direct observations since 1610 (red line). Their reconstruction of solar activity also displays several “distinct features,” including several “well-defined Grand minima of solar activity, ca. 770 BC, 350 BC, 680 AD, 1050 AD, 1310 AD, 1470 AD, and 1680 AD,” as well as “the modern Grand maximum (which occurred during solar cycles 19-23, i.e., 1950-2009),” which they describe as “a rare or even unique event, in both magnitude and duration, in the past three millennia.”


Figure 1. Reconstructed decadal average of sunspot numbers for the period 1150 BC-1950 AD (black line). The 95% confidence interval is shown by the gray shading and directly measured sunspot numbers are shown in red. The horizontal dashed lines demark the bounds of the three suggested modes (Grand Minimum, Regular, and Grand Maximum) as defined by Usoskin et al.

A “rare or even unique event” which had zip to do with man or CO2, but certainly coincided with the panic about man-made global warming, huh?  And the alarmists gave what sort of influence to the sun in their models?

Usoskin et al. (2014) write their results “provide important constraints for both dynamo models of Sun-like stars and investigations of possible solar influence on Earth’s climate.” They also illustrate the importance of improving the quality of such reconstructions, in light of the fact that previous reconstructions of this nature “did not reveal any clear signature of distinct modes” in solar activity.

Unfortunately, it was beyond the scope of this paper to address the potential impact of solar activity on climate. Yet the reconstruction leaves a very big question unanswered — What effect did the Grand maximum of solar activity that occurred between 1950 and 2009 have on Earth’s climate? As a “unique” and “rare” event in terms of both magnitude and duration, one would think a lot more time and effort would be spent by the IPCC and others in answering that question. Instead, IPCC scientists have conducted relatively few studies of the Sun’s influence on modern warming, assuming that the temperature influence of this rare and unique Grand maximum of solar activity, which has occurred only once in the past 3,000 years, is far inferior to the radiative power provided by the rising CO2 concentration of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Not that any of these facts will at all derail the Alarmist’s rush to provide an expensive solution to a non-existent problem.  Doug Hoffman summarizes what we who are totally skeptical of the “science” of man-made global warming face:

One of the sad side effects of the global warming climate scam is the way otherwise fairly intelligent people have been snookered into believing the dumbest things. There is no shortage of “experts” who gleefully back up claims of climate induced catastrophe—some with scholarly gravitas, others with fanatical shrillness. And the list of false and debunked claims goes on and on. Part of the blame for all these faux catastrophes rests squarely on the news media. Operating under the old adage, “if it bleeds it leads,” the mindless vultures of the world’s news agencies flock to report any calamity, more than happy to attributed the event to climate change. Instead of registering guns, governments should register cameras and microphones—they are truly dangerous weapons in the hands of the breathtakingly ignorant members of the fourth estate.

Indeed.  One of the things we’ve discussed here before is how the rise of advocacy “journalism” harms us all.  This “scam”, as Hoffman characterizes it, points out in spades how poorly we’re served by our media today.

Don’t expect this study to get much attention.  It is counter to the conventional wisdom, counter to the desire to further empower government and certainly counter to the desire by those in power to cash in on this faux crisis.

~McQ

NBC – America’s “fed up”. News flash – so am I

Yup, NBC is figuring out that things aren’t so great, especially in Obamaville:

To words sum up the mood of the nation: Fed up.

Six in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the state of the U.S. economy, more than 70 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 80 percent are down on the country’s political system, according to the latest NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll.

The frustration carries over to the nation’s political leaders, with President Barack Obama’s overall approval rating hitting a new low at 40 percent, and a mere 14 percent of the public giving Congress a thumbs up.

So there is no question that a majority of Americans (60/40) disapprove of the job the President is doing.  About time.  What is a question is what will be done about it.

My guess?  Not much.  I’m not talking about impeachment, I’m not talking about censure – neither are options for the American people as a whole.  I’m talking about the next presidential election – will it be another emotional beauty contest, or will the people actually take it seriously?  Given the last presidential election, which returned an incompetent and disconnected president to office, I have no real hope they will.

Looking at the Congressional numbers, I only say “what’s new”?  Their low numbers have persisted through a number of presidencies and yet the same people pretty much run the place.  And apparently it is heresy to actually want candidates who see the Constitution as the law of the land and essentially mandating a much smaller government with much less intrusion into the daily lives of Americans.

But, will the people of the US actually choose the heretics?  It appears they’d much rather stick with the status quo and bitch about it.  I expect nothing much to change in Congress except a few names and party affiliations and perhaps the majority in the Senate.  But work toward smaller, less intrusive and less costly government?  Address spending and the deficit?  You need to provide me with some of the drugs you’re taking if you think that will happen.

Nope … just as I believe the West hasn’t the backbone to do what is necessary to confront and eradicate radical Islam, I have no confidence that the American people want to do anything more about the current situation than bitch about it.

We’ve had a succession of wave elections that have put an exclamation point to the findings above. At each election, they’re pretty much the same as those above.  And what have they brought us?  More of the same.  I can’t imagine this will be any different.  Just a different branch of the same establishment group getting the blame.

So who will win in November?

Who cares?  If Mitch McConnell is Majority Leader, Harry Reid is Minority Leader and Barack Obama is President, what will really change?

~McQ

Trying to change the argument

The New Republic publishes an article saying, in essence, “see, the ObamaCare increases are nothing to really get excited about“.  And to emphasize the point, they issue this Price-Waterhouse map (the reason they use it is as an appeal to authority):

If you look at it, you’d likely conclude that they were mostly right … where’s the problem?  Only Indiana seems to have a real problem and its increases are only around 15%.

And, you know, if Price-Waterhouse says it, it must be true.

Researching it beyond that, well, that would be journalism:

INDIANA: 2015 premiums increases ‘as high as … 46-percent’ “Initial 2015 premiums filed for the Obamacare exchanges in Indiana ranged from as high as a 46-percent hike to as low as a 9-percent cut.” (Indianapolis Business Journal, 5/19/14)

MARYLAND: 2015 premiums could increase up to 30% “Maryland’s dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23 to 30 percent for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health-care law, according to filings released Friday.” (The Washington Post, 6/6/14)

WASHINGTON: 2015 premiums could increase ‘up to 26%’ “If approved, rate increases for 2015 individual health plans proposed by 12 insurance companies may affect most policyholders… [up] to an increase of 26 percent…” (The Seattle Times, 5/13/14)

ARIZONA: 2015 premium increases up to 25.5 percent “New filings trickling into the Arizona Department of Insurance show at least two health insurers plan to increase rates more than 10 percent. Cigna Wants To Increase Rates An Average Of 14.4 Percent And Humana, 25.5 Percent.” (The Arizona Republic, 6/2/14)

LOUISIANA: ‘Double-digit increases’ up to 24% possible “Some Louisiana private health insurers filed for double-digit percentage increases in 2015 for policies sold under the Affordable Care Act’s health exchange, according to filings this week with the Louisiana Department of Insurance.” (New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)

·         “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, the state’s largest provider, is proposing rate increases of between 18.3 percent and 19.7 percent for policyholders in its Blue Saver, Blue Max and its Multi-State individual health plans. The plans cover 52,638 people. … The 4,947 people who signed up with Human Louisiana facea hike of 15.7 percent, while the 966 insured residents with Time Insurance Company face a hike of 24 percent, according to the filings made public this week.”(New Orleans Times Picayune, 7/15/14)

TENNESSEE: 2015 Premiums Could Increase up to 21.7% “BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee — the state’s dominant health insurance provider — is asking to raise rates by an average of 19 percent for its exchange plans in 2015, according to documents filed with the state of Tennessee. …the consumer will experience a rate increase between 6.1 percent and 21.7 percent, depending on the product he or she has bought.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)

·         “Meanwhile, Cigna is requesting an average rate increase of 7.5 percent in 2015, while Kentucky-based Humana would like to boost marketplace rates by an average of 14.4 percent.” (Chattanooga Times Free Press, 7/17/14)

NEW YORK: 2015 premiums could increase up to 19.7% “Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2015, new figures reviewed by The Post reveal. The average hike sought by insurers for individual plans is 12 percent—but a number of firms serving large numbers of patients want to boost individual premiums by nearly 20 percent. Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.” (New York Post, 7/3/14)

VERMONT: 2015 premiums could increase up to 18.3% “The two companies that sell policies on the state’s online health insurance marketplace — Vermont Health Connect — have filed requests with state regulators for big rate increases for 2015. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont has asked for an average increase for its plans of 9.8 percent. … the increases would have averaged 3.3 percent if not for federal and state mandates. … MVP Health Care proposed an even bigger rate increase — an average 15.4 percent, with a range starting at 10.7 percent and rising to 18.3 percent.” (Burlington Free Press, 6/3/14)

MICHIGAN: 2015 premium increases up to 18 percent “Most people buying their own health insurance in Michigan could see near double-digit premium increases next year. State insurance regulators said Wednesday that dominant insurers Blue Care Network and Blue Cross Blue Shield want to raise rates by an average of 9.3 percent or 9.7 percent in 2015. … Humana is the insurer with the third most customers in Michigan’s individual market and seeks an average 18 percent rate increase affecting 16,600 customers.” (The Associated Press, 6/26/14)

VIRGINIA: 2015 premiums could increase up to 14.9% “…the Anthem HealthKeepers Inc. plan offered by a unit of WellPoint Inc. said it would raise premiums by an average of 8.5% across its individual plans in Virginia, which cover about 110,000 people and are sold on the online insurance exchange set up by the health law, as well as directly to consumers. … The Virginia filings show other health plans proposing rate increases ranging from 3.3% for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Inc., with around 10,000 members in the state, to 14.9% for CareFirst BlueChoice Inc., which said it had about 32,000 members.” (The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/14)

IOWA: 2015 premium increases up to 14.5 percent “About a quarter of a million Iowans would see their insurance rates rise next year should the state approve a request from Iowa’s dominant health insurer. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield announced Friday that it is seeking to raise premium rates for 253,000 policyholders in Iowa. Those rate increases would affect individual policyholders and small businesses. Most — 92 percent — of the proposed rate increases would be less than 5.9 percent, according to numbers provided by Wellmark. … For the remaining 7.5 percent of policyholders — those who have post-Affordable Care Act plans for individuals under 65 — Wellmark is asking for a rate increase between 11.9 percent and 14.5 percent.” (Des Moines Register, 6/20/14)

OHIO: “Premiums would increase 13 percent next year for Ohioans who buy health coverage through the federally run insurance exchange, the Ohio Department of Insurance said yesterday.” (The Columbus Dispatch, 5/30/14)

OREGON: 2015 premiums could increase up to 12.5% “Moda Health captured more than 40 percent of the state’s exchange enrollees this year, with about 95,000 people covered under its plans. The company is proposing to increase prices by an average of 12.5 percent. Only one other carrier proposed a double-digit price increase.” (The Hill, 6/11/14)

RHODE ISLAND: 2015 premium increases ‘averaging 12 percent’ Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proposing 2015 premium increases averaging 12 percent for individuals and families, and 8 percent for small groups.” (Providence Journal, 5/19/14)

DELAWARE: 2015 premiums could increase 5% “Delawareans could face higher insurance costs under the Affordable Care Act next year under new rate requests from insurers. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield is seeking average premium increases of 5 percent for individuals who bought insurance through Delaware’s exchange.”(The Associated Press, 7/15/14)

And Florida?

Premiums would rise an average 13.2 percent for Floridians, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. But actual increases would vary greatly on families’ size, financial circumstances, county of residence and the types of plans they select.

All that said, that’s not the argument is it?  Wasn’t the promise that ObamaCare would save families an average of $2,500 a  year?

That’s what I remember.

But, you know, it’s a great success.

~McQ

17 trillion in debt and no relief in sight

As the world collapses around us, our borders are overrun, our leaders dither and procrastinate and the world in general thumbs their collective noses at “American power”, this sort of stuff could get lost in the shuffle:

When President Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009, the total federal debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. As of the close of business on July 30, 2014, it had risen to $17,618,599,653,160.19–up $6,991,722,604,247.11 from Obama’s first inauguration day.

By the close of business on July 31, 2014, it had risen to $17,687,136,723,410.59—up $7,060,259,674,497.51 since Obama first inauguration day.

Now the easy thing to do would be to go on a “it’s Obama’s fault” tirade, but that would only be partially true.  He certainly holds some responsibility for doing nothing to stem the red ink, and, in most cases, actually encouraging it.  He’s certainly exerted no leadership in trying to get the two parties together on a budget either.

But it is Congress that appropriates and spends.  Not the executive branch, now matter how bad it is.  For the first two years of Obama’s first term, it was all Democrats all the time.  And they set in motion horrendous spending programs like ObamaCare.  And there were a number more.

The fact of the matter is Congress also holds major share of the blame for this – no budget has been passed by the Senate during Obama’s entire tenure – and again, the majority of the Senate has been Democrat for these 6 years.

So what had been a horrific 10 plus trillion debt that was piled up over 40 years, became an even more horrific 17 trillion dollar debt in 6 short years – with no end in sight.

Yet most of the idiots who’ve put us in this fiscal hole will be running for re-election in the midterms and most of them will be re-elected.

Once more, the definition of insanity seems to loom large, doesn’t it?

~McQ